The Third Wave - Part 2
THE THIRD WAVE II
A History Lesson
Todd Hunter, national coordinator of the Association of Vineyard Churches extols the virtues of three Pentecostal evangelists. Asa Alonso Allen (1911-1970): A. A. Allen was one of the first speakers to appeal for support by using the theme of financial blessing for the giver, he told adherents that God had given him a new anointing and a new power to lay hands on the believers who gave $100.00 towards the support of his missionary outreach and bestow upon them the Power To Get Wealth. He claimed that God changed the one-dollar bills in his pocket into twenty dollar bills. Allen who is today extolled by Benny Hinn as a "great man of God", was arrested for drunk driving during a Tennessee revival in 1955, the first of many alcohol-related experiences for him. Allen concocted the alibi, that he had been kidnapped and knocked unconscious, when he awoke, he was in a smoke-filled room and somebody was pouring liquor down his throat.William Marrion Branham (1909-1965): He is revered today by leaders in the Vineyard Movement. He denied such essential biblical doctrines as the Godhead (Trinity), and taught that Eve had sexual intercourse with the serpent and conceived Cain (Genesis 4:1). He also predicted things that never happened, such as, the Rapture would take place by 1977, and that the world would be destroyed. Jack Coe (1919-1957). On occasion he would actually pick up people out of their wheelchairs. If they fell, he’d say they didn’t have faith (Acts 3:1-8). Oral Roberts considered Jack Coe to be a man of great faith. Preachers from the Church of Christ openly challenged him to produce documentation for his boasts of miraculous healing. They labeled him as a fake and a fraud, and one critic wrote, "Have you ever noticed that the claim is always made concerning an inward goiter or some trouble that is not outwardly apparent, or some trouble that people usually recover from naturally? No glass eyes or cork legs are ever replaced!" (All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals In Modern America, David Edwin Harrell, Jr., p. 45). Like many modern faith healers, Coe sought to intimidate those who opposed him by claiming that people who disagreed with him were in danger of being struck dead by God. When I read about the personal morality of such men, and the errors they taught, I cannot help but think of such passages as (Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets…You will know them by their fruits"; Romans 16:18 "For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting"; 2 Corinthians 11:13 "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers…"; 2 Peter 2:3 "and in their greed they will exploit you with false words…").
Such men talk a lot about "love", and why can’t we just back off regarding the insistence upon following the Scriptures. And yet, anyone who challenges their claims or who asks for proof and documentation is threatened. Hank Hanegraaff notes that many who have fallen at the feet of such men as Jack Arnot, Benny Hinn, and Rodney Howard-Browne, have accused such men of pushing them to the ground. But such behavior is excused as being "drunk in the Holy Spirit" and they may get a little heavy-handed. "They predict that the party God is presently throwing for His people will soon give way to a bloody civil war. On one side of the war will be ‘blues’ who readily accept new revelations from God. On the other side will be ‘grays’ who rely solely on the revelation God has already given (the Scriptures). According to Rick Joyner, the grays (whom he labels ‘spiritually ruthless and cruel’) will either be converted or removed from their place of influence in the church" (Counterfeit Revival, pp. 94-95). Such arrogance and intimidation is seen in what Rodney Howard-Browne says that he said to God when he was seventeen. He says that he gave God an ultimatum: "Either You come down here and touch me or I am going to come up there and touch You"(p. 22).
Benny Hinn claims he had a vivid dream. In this dream a woman wearing a white dress and no makeup came up to him, handed him a book, and said, "Read". The day after the dream, says Hinn, a man walked up to him and said, "The Lord is telling me to give you this book". On the front page of the book was a picture of the very woman Hinn had encountered in his dream. Her name was Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924). She is the one person most associated with the "slain in the spirit" teaching in early Pentecostalism. In her time she was dubbed the "trance evangelist" and the "voodoo priestess". During her services she would often freeze in mid-sentence and remain frozen for twenty-four hours. By the way, where did Jesus or the apostles ever do that? Actually, Hinn never tells his followers that she was a false prophet who had claimed that the San Francisco Bay area would be destroyed by an earthquake and a tidal wave in 1890.
Slain In The Spirit
"Slain in the Spirit" is the idea that the Holy Spirit hits people and they fall to the floor. In fact, John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Movement argues that spiritual leaders always fall forward, while the ordinary member in the pew always falls backward. He even claims to have seen a man converted after he was lifted and flung thirty feet across the floor and slammed against a wall. Howard-Browne says he has seen people picked up and thrown over three rows of chairs like a piece of rag. Added to this is the claim of "Holy Spirit Glue", in which it is claimed that people are stuck to the floor for hours at a time.
- When Jesus taught and healed or when the apostles taught and healed, when did anyone ever get thrown across the room by the Holy Spirit or end up stuck to the floor? When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2) or upon the household of Cornelius (Acts 10), people didn’t get thrown around, rather, these people were standing up, speaking in foreign languages, and were speaking very concisely and rationally (2:11,14; 10:44-46). In the church at Corinth, when the spiritual gifts were in existence, still no one was stuck to the floor, or being thrown across the room, God is not the author of disorder or confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), rather each inspired prophet or tongue speaker was expected to wait for their turn to speak, to get up and speak, and to sit down (1 Corinthians 14:26-32).
The next nationally renowned character to popularize the slain in the spirit doctrine was Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare denomination. Yet she had multiple marriages (two of which ended in divorce), and died from an apparent drug overdose. When she died in 1944, a young woman who had studied her every movement, became her successor. Kathryn Kuhlman loved expensive clothes, precious jewels, luxury hotels, and first class travel. She also had an adulterous relationship with evangelist Burroughs A. Waltrip that destroyed his family. Most historians feel that the successor to Kathryn Kuhlman is Benny Hinn.
Feigned Miracles and Gullible People
People can claim all sorts of things, but when one takes a good look inside the modern Pentecostal Movement, your eyes will be opened. One of Kathryn Kuhlman’s biographers, Jamie Buckingham claims that toward the end of Kuhlman’s life the "anointing" was non-existent. Here’s how she tells the story: "Kathryn was moving back and forth across the stage, saying all her favorite phrases. They seemed empty. The singer had climbed to her feet and Kathryn touched her again. Nothing happened this time. In a desperate move I heard her say, ‘The Spirit is all over you, Jamie’. She swept toward me, putting her hands on my jaw as I sang. There had been times in the past when, if she even got close to me, I would go down ‘under the power’, but that day it was just Kathryn—with her hands on my jaw. I loved her too much to disappoint her. With a sign of resignation, I fell backwards into the arms of the man behind me" (The Daughter of Destiny, p. 281). In my reading I have found that various rumors circulate through the Charismatic Movement and are spread without any documentation. Wayne Jackson notes that he received a letter with large letters across the top: Raised From The Dead! The letter was authored by Paul Eshleman, Director of the JESUS Film Project and was sent under the auspices of Campus Crusade for Christ. In the left margin of the first page were photos of Billy Graham, Bill Bright, and well-known artist, Joni Eareckson Tada (a quadriplegic who paints beautiful pictures with a mouth-held brush). According to the letter, a sixteen year-old girl in a remote region of India was about to be buried; suddenly, she sat up. According to the report, the young lady testified that she had been dead, but the Lord sent her back to tell her neighbors about the real God. But compare this claim with what Jesus said in Luke 16:27-31. Mr. Jackson noted, "My final thought was this. Surely Joni Tada must be wondering: ‘If God is working miracles today—to help spread the word—why doesn’t He bring me out of this wheelchair and grant to me the use of my four withered limbs?’ Everyone knows this poor lady’s condition is genuine and dire. Were she suddenly to ‘rise and walk’ there would be no question but that a miracle had occurred. Why don’t we ever see those kind?" (The Christian Courier On The Web, Penpoints, "Feigned Miracles And Gullible People, p. 2).
Several large Pentecostal groups have claimed that God recently visited their services and blessed certain of their members with gold teeth. More than three hundred of these accounts have been circulating through churches that claim miraculous gifts within the past few months. Joel and Linda Budd of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who are affiliated with the Open Bible Fellowship, said in the June issue of Charisma Magazine, that Linda’s eighty-year-old mother was twice recently visited by the Lord and received five gold crowns on one occasion. Such is a strange claim, for biblical miracles, such as healing, completely restored a person’s health. Claiming that God gave you a gold crown makes about as much sense as claiming that God gave you a hair transplant, new glasses, contact lenses or a cane to help you walk. Why does God have you use gold crowns, why can’t God just give you a new tooth?
It is always helpful to remember the "quality" of biblical miracles. 1. The people healed were not unknown individuals in the remotest part of the Roman Empire, but rather were often well-known people (Acts 3:9-10; John 11:45). 2. Every kind of disease and sickness was healed (Matthew 4:23), and "hard cases" were not weeded out (Mark 5:25-26). 3. There were no exceptions (Luke 9:11). 4. People were healed instantly and immediately (Acts 3:2-8; Matthew 12:13). 5. Faith on the part of the person being healed wasn’t always a necessary condition to be healed (Acts 3:2). In fact, Jesus could heal when surrounded by unbelievers and skeptics and healed people in their very presence (Matthew 12:10-13; Mark 2:1-12). 6. Jesus healed people with obvious physical problems (Luke 5:12-13; 22:50-51). 7. Non-Christians were healed! (Acts 3:16) 8. I don’t find Jesus hitting people, pushing them over, or punching them in the stomach when healing them. Rather, He often simply said the word and people were healed (Mark 2:9-10).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church Of Christ/ (530) 644-9017